Scandal-hit drama school ALRA which taught top actors including Miranda Hart shuts without warning

Image taken from ALRA's promotional video

A scandal-hit drama school which counted stars including Miranda Hart among former pupils has shut down without warning after failing to stem a financial crisis.

The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) ran sites in Wandsworth, south London, and Wigan after being founded in 1979 by Irish actor and director Sorrel Carson.

But a restructure of the school's finances failed to safeguard its future and the site closed its doors without warning this week.

"ALRA went through a restructure in Spring 2021 that was designed to stabilise finances, but the losses made in the 2020/21 academic year and the lack of any new significant income streams in 2021/22 meant the organisation was not financially viable," a statement read.

Miranda Hart was one of the famous names to have been taught at ALRA

In 2020 a group of actors and artists who studied at ALRA accused the school of widespread and systemic racist abuse.

British-Gambian actor Lamin Touray, who studied at ALRA North, posted an open letter on his Twitter account.

"This is our official open letter, which contains several detailed accounts and experiences of the historic racism that students have endured during their time at ALRA - the treatment towards black and Asian students from ALRA has effected many of us for years," the letter said.

"In light of BLM protests, this has lead to us speaking out openly about our experiences. We believe these incidences are part of systemic racism within the school that Adrian Hall headed up that ALRA has accepted.

"Therefore we would like to issue a group complaint, an open letter in the hopes to rid ALRA of the racism."

In a statement ALRA said the school "openly acknowledged" there had been failings and trauma caused by racism which they took very seriously. "We apologise unreservedly," the school added.

Last year an internal investigation was opened following allegations that a former teacher sexually harassed students.

The school said the wellbeing of staff and students was always "of the upmost importance".

Students said they were left "heartbroken" by this week's decision to close the school.

Other people on Twitter offered reassurance and help.

A plan to secure the school's long-term future by selling the site failed and bosses said they would support students "as much as possible" so they could continue studies elsewhere.

ALRA said it was working with The Office for Students and Department for Education to ensure all students were offered places on alternative courses.